Wednesday, April 6, 2011
"The Map of Time" by Felix J. Palma - A Review
Title: The Map of Time
Author: Felix J. Palma (Translated by: Nick Caistor)
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: June 28th, 2011
Available for Pre-order here: Simon & Schuster / Books-a-Million / Barnes & Noble
"The Map of Time" by Felix J. Palma is a book that defies being boxed into a single genre. Its a magnificent novel that is part Historical Fiction, part Science Fiction, part Romance, even part Steampunk, and all in all, a great Mystery/Thriller. Even if you are a fan of only one of those genres, but not a fan of the others, I guarantee that you are still going to enjoy this book because it manages to do justice to all the genres it encompasses.
The book begins with a narrator introducing the reader to the story and its various characters. Author Palma has created a narrator with a clear, strong voice and a commanding presence. The narration is fluid, and on various occasions it tends to engage into direct dialogue with the reader, thus drawing the reader right into the novel itself. It has been quite some time since I have enjoyed a book narrated in the third-person, and seldom have I come across a narrator who resonates so well with me.
The story is simple, and the story is good. It involves the manipulation of time, and time travel, and is full of adventures. But it is not just telling an interesting story that this author succeeds in, he has also given birth to characters that are dynamic and multi-dimensional, much like the story itself. Felix J. Palma takes great pains to infuse as much detail as possible into his story, he leaves no stone unturned in order to give great depth to his characters, which in turn gives a lot of substance to this magical tale.
The novel is woven around three main intertwined tales. First, we have Andrew Harrington, the wealthy and heartbroken bachelor residing in Victorian London who lost the love of his life, prostitute Marie Kelly, to the evil and conniving murderer 'Jack the Ripper'. In his destitution, and inability to move on from his tragedy, he is willing to try anything, perhaps something even as implausible as time travel, in order to save Marie Kelly from the hands of the cold-blooded murderer. Then there's Claire Haggerty, a woman who feels stifled by the norms of the Victorian society which dictate her to marry a suitable man from the many suitors that her family finds for her. She feels disconnected from the people and customs of her time, and longs to exist in another world - a world where she is free to follow her desires, and love whomever she pleases. Last, but definitely not the least, there is the young author H.G. Wells, the man whose novel, 'The Time Machine' has motivated many to try their hands at time travel, and his book becomes the root from which the branches of this story sprout forth. Also incorporated into the story are the stories of Dracula, Joseph Merrick (the Elephant Man), and the futuristic Captain Shackleton battling the automatons of the year 2000.
Ultimately, Felix J. Palma has authored a novel that is sublime in all its aspects. Acerbic wit, intellectual commentary, mind boggling twists and turns, combined with unique characters makes for an enchanting, satisfying and deeply mesmerizing novel. In the novel, the author writes about an invention being something that supersedes the being of the man who invents it, and outlasts him to form part of world as it goes into the future - to which I surmise that in this case, "The Map of Time" is Felix J. Palma's greatest invention to date, a novel invention that transports us to another place and another time, and this will surely be a novel talked about for ages to come.
My Rating : 5/5 Stars
Disclaimer: Although I received an Advance Reading Copy (ARC) of this book for review, I was not compensated monetarily, or in any other way, for my opinion. The opinions stated in this review are solely mine, and are not representative of views of the author, or publishing company, of this book.